Monday, November 05, 2012


As the day was drawing to a close, my office manager appeared, bearing an invoice for me. I was surprised, as I couldn't think of anything that I'd bought that would require an invoice from Fedex. Then I looked at the dratted piece of paper and saw what it was.

When we went to Hong Kong, my wife took her engagement ring back to the jeweller to have it serviced. Just like a motor car or a rifle, it turns out that a diamond ring also requires constant maintenance.

Unfortunately, it also requires that you pick it up from the jeweller after the prongs have been repaired, and you don't just fly back to Singapore without it.

After all the money I'd spent on the ring, and all it symbolised, we weren't going to have it gathering dust in Hong Kong, so our jeweller sent it back to us via FedEx. A few days later an enormous cardboard box containing a smaller cardboard box containing the ring arrived, and everything was restored to normal.

Then a month later, the invoice from FedEx turned up.

I hadn't realised that the Singaporean government would want 7% of my wife's engagement ring, but apparently they do, and FedEx would very helpfully charge me that amount, plus ten dollars for printing out an invoice and mailing it to me. I'm always irritated when FedEx do this, because it never seems to be mentioned up front, and nobody else seems to want to have you taxed just for moving your own possessions around. Oh well.

If I was a registered company and I was importing the ring as a gift for my wife, I think it might actually have been GST-exempt, if I'm reading the tax code correctly. But I'm not, and so I'll have to mail a cheque to FedEx. I can take some solace in their having to pay the postage.

Except I don't have a cheque book.

Then again, the invoice isn't made out to me. It's addressed to James Illegible, at a street that doesn't exist, care of a company with a name that only vaguely resembles the one I work for, sent from a Ms Illegible in Hong Kong, with a similar employer.

Part of me wonders if I can dispatch a similar invoice to FedEx, billing them for translating Illegible into my surname. The other part of me is toying with calling them up to tell them that James Illegible has left and gone to live in mmmrrrprhhmm, mmrrrrmharrrumph, but can easily be contacted at mumblemumble at ackackack dot com.

Actually, that's bound to be what they hear from my accent when I call up anyway, so I suppose things will work themselves out quite naturally. Or I'll get to find out if there's a debtor's prison in Singapore.


Post a Comment